HPV Vaccination Rates Low for Another Year

HPV vaccination rates remained low for the second consecutive year, the CDC reports.

HPV vaccination rates remained low for the second consecutive year, the CDC reports.

Despite a slight increase in vaccination coverage since 2012, only 57% of teenage girls and 35% of teenage boys receive 1 or more doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine—an unacceptably low amount, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

The CDC released the data, which come from its 2013 National Immunization Survey-Teen, in the July 25, 2014, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, there is a substantial gap between the number of teenagers who received tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccinations, and the number who received HPV vaccinations.

The data showed that only one-third of adolescent girls received the recommended 3 doses of HPV vaccine.

“It’s frustrating to report almost the same HPV vaccination coverage levels among girls for another year,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press release.

The high rate—86%—of adolescents receiving Tdap vaccinations suggests that achieving similar HPV vaccination rates is possible, the CDC states. If missed vaccination opportunities were eliminated for adolescent girls, the CDC estimates 91% of girls would be protected from cancers caused by HPV.

The data also reveal the staggering effect a health care professional’s recommendation has on a parent’s vaccination decision. Not receiving a clinician’s recommendation was among the main reasons parents did not vaccinate their children against HPV. Among teenage girls and teenage boys who did receive HPV vaccinations, 74% and 72%, respectively, did so after a clinician’s recommendation.

As a result, the CDC urged health care professionals to strongly recommend all recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, to patients aged 11 or 12 years, and to urge parents and care givers to ask about vaccination recommendations during every health care visit.